Nevalyashka – Tumbler toy

Almost every time I nurse Theo, I look to see what’s new on eBay classifieds. I’ve already found quite a few good things, but on Monday, I scored the most awesome deal yet.

They’re Russian Nevalyashka dolls. Also known as tumbler toys, wobble dolls, or roly poly dolls. Super simple, yet so fun.

Some of my other mommy friends have similar toys, and I’d been considering buying one online. But when I saw that there were TWO of these for just 5€, it was almost too good to be true! Except it was true, and I asked about them right away and nobody had claimed them yet. So I went over that same afternoon and picked them up. One big one and one little one.


Theo loves chasing after them, and they make the most relaxing jingly sound.

7 months

Theo turned 7 months old today. To celebrate, he crawled across the living room, pulled himself up, and helped himself to a candy cane that was on the Christmas tree.

“Oh, cute,” I thought to myself as I got the camera out. “This will make for a nice Christmas picture: Theo holding a candy cane!”

Only before I managed to get the camera, which needed a memory card, he somehow got the candy cane open and got his first taste of its pepperminty goodness.

His first candy ever. Oops. Well, Theo, seeing as it’s your 7-month birthday and all, I let it slide. So I took my photo before taking it away from him.

My oh my, how time flies.

Meeting Santa

On Sunday night, we found ourselves downtown at the biggest Christmas market in Hamburg: the one at the town hall. We just happened to be there in the St. Nick of time (too much?) to meet Santa! Well, we saw him, anyway. At 6 pm all the bells were ringing at nearby churches and suddenly music started to play and a real live Santa in a sleigh dashed over our heads with his four reindeer. (Where are the other five?) He waved to the crowds, told us a little story about Rudolph and his other reindeer and why they got their names, and told us that if we see a red light on Christmas Eve, that’s Rudolph.

It was so darn magical…I cried.

No really. Tobias laughed at me and had to take a picture as proof. Theo looks confused, but he saw Santa too. And that was so very touching for some reason. He’s too young to get what all the fuss was about, but I did see him look up there at Santa, and that made me really excited.

To mark the occasion, we took a family selfie – Theo’s got that Gilmour lip going on…and there was a raindrop on my lens.

The market was pretty crowded, but we shuffled through the crowds to the nearest Schmalzkuchen stand and shared a bag of their fatty, sugary goodness together. None for you, Theo, sorry, but surely next year!

Christmas poems

As I mentioned before, our advent calendar this year is one full of Christmassy activities to do together. (You can see our calendar hanging in the hallway in this picture!)

We were running a bit behind with the tasks…so we killed two birds with one stone and did two days’ activities at the same time: eat a chocolate Santa with coffee (we drank tea) and write a Christmas poem for each other.

We sat down with pens and blank sheets of paper and gave ourselves 10 minutes to write the other person a poem.

It was really fun, and I’m going to suggest we do the same with my family this year at Christmas! Because there was a set time limit, there was no pressure to create an absolute masterpiece of a poem. But the results, I must say, were pretty good anyway!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are the poems we came up with. Bonus points for those of you who can speak German – you get to read Tobi’s poem in the original form with all its lovely rhymes.

I wrote two: first this longer poem, and then a little limerick.

My Mistle-Tobi

Christmas trees

and pumpkin pie,


me oh my!

The holidays won’t

pass us by

without some Mistle-Tobi.


“What is that?”

you  might ask,

and if you want

I’ll tell you.

It’s something that

I like the best

for Christmastime:

my Tobi!


When we see the hanging branch

with green leaves and white berries,

so high above our heads

and tied with a ribbon red…

we look up and then realize

we’re underneath the magical

branch of mistletoe that

fills our hearts with romance.

Maybe we’ll have a little dance,

but a kiss for sure…

under the mistle-Tobi!


The Worst Christmas Limerick Ever

There once was a man named Santa

who didn’t like Coke, but Fanta!

He flew into town

with his reindeer right down

And he didn’t have fun in Atlanta!


And Tobi’s poem, first in the original, and then with my bad translation that surely won’t do it justice:

Der Baum


ohne Baum

– ein Alptraum –

und kaum


– wie wunderbar –

ihn erst am

Weihnachtsabend zu schmücken

und sich daran zu entzücken.


Nein, er wird,

nachdem verspeist sind

alle Truthahn Reste,

schon besorgt

weit vor dem Jesusfeste.


Für Sarah ist das

– wie sollte es anders sein? –

das Beste!


The Tree


without a tree

– a nightmare –

and hardly


– how wonderful –

to wait to decorate it

until Christmas Eve

and to be delighted by it.

No, it will be,

after all the turkey leftovers

are eaten,

already bought

way before the Jesus fest

For Sarah is that

– how should it be any different? –

the best!

More milestones

Theo pulled himself up for the first time on Saturday. He was trying to get to this plastic bag full of wood chips, and I just happened to have the camera ready to capture the moment!

Looks like baby proofing needs to happen sooner rather than later. We’ve already started, but being able to pull himself up brings on a whole new level of things we need to watch out for. Ha!

He is sitting really well these days, too, but I was nice and put my nursing pillow behind him so that if he fell, he wouldn’t bonk his head. Which he’s done quite often lately, now that he’s moving around more, poor guy. Ah, well. Par for the course.